Links Between Hearing Loss and Tinnitus
Many people who experience Tinnitus also suffer from hearing loss and vice versa. It is thought that we all experience some degree of Tinnitus and this can become more obvious if we lose even a small part of our hearing. Our hearing gives us lots of other background noises to listen to (traffic, conversation, TV, weather, etc.) and we are therefore automatically distracted from Tinnitus like sounds. This is something that those who routinely experience Tinnitus can identify with as many report that their Tinnitus is worse when life is quiet; like at bed time.
Tinnitus can also be a symptom of a type or degree of hearing loss. It is known that those exposed to loud noise over long periods of time can experience both hearing loss and Tinnitus which is consistent with damage to the inner ear. Your cochlea (part of the inner ear) contains delicate and sensitive hair cells that can be damaged through exposure to excessive levels of sound. When this happens, this can lead to a lack in clarity in your hearing and the same damage can trigger Tinnitus.
Your doctor will need to review any previous instances of un-investigated Tinnitus and once this has been done, you are welcome to talk to a Hearing Aid Audiologist about how a hearing test may help. A lot of people suffering from Tinnitus discover that hearing aids can be very helpful in dealing with the condition. Hearing aids can strengthen the surrounding environmental sounds as well as distracting your brain from hearing Tinnitus sounds. Hearing aids may also help to improve your hearing in both work and social situations.